NRI, India, Politics, CoronaVirus, COVID19,

MUMBAI: Over 10,000 Indian students from across India are stranded in the Osh State University (OSU), Kyrgyzstan who desperately want to return, a student from the varsity said on Sunday. Reacting to a report by IANS on March 28 via email, the medical student Darshan Shinde narrated the plight of the Indian students at the university.

“We were removed from our hostel and kept in other hostels, with four persons in one small room. We are locked here and our passports are not given to us,” rued Shinde. Besides, the hostel has reportedly kept suspected cases of COVID-19, and the student apprehends that the food stocks in the local markets would disappear soon.

His response came after Union Minister of State for Social Welfare Ramdas Athawale on Saturday informed IANS about the students languishing there in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“They called me up with urgent requests to help evacuate them. Of these students, I am informed that around 205 are from Maharashtra alone, according to their families,” Athawale said Saturday. The central minister said that Kyrgyzstan’s Avia Traffic Co., in the capital Bishkek, is ready to operate at least three flights to India and send the stranded students home.

“They are ready to operate two flights to New Delhi and one to Mumbai to bring back these stranded students. I shall be speaking with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Minister for External Affairs and other officials to grant landing permission to the flights on priority basis despite the lockdown and the ban on flight operations,” Athawale said. He is hopeful of getting the relevant clearances from the Indian government to enable the launch of evacuation proceedings within a couple of days or so as their near and dear ones are getting panicky in view of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

However, under the apparently grim scenario, only three flights may not be sufficient to bring back all the 10,000-plus stranded students from Bishkek. Meanwhile, Wardha-based education consultant Dr Kishor Saste had estimated that there may be around 2000 Indian students studying medicine in OSU, and more than 500 – including some 125 girls – from Maharashtra alone.

OSU is ranked among the distinguished medical universities globally and is increasingly popular among Indian students in a big way since a couple of decades, besides affordable costs, and good weather conditions, according to State.

Incidentally, Kyrgyzstan with a population of around 6.3 million has around 55-plus COVID-19 positive cases with medical emergency situation declared in several parts of the country.